Richard Wilmarth was born in Fall River, Mass. A high school dropout, Wilmarth earned a GED, pursued music in the 1960s and 1970s, returned to school at Community College of Rhode Island in 1983, then earned a B.A. in English at University of Rhode Island in 1988 and an M.A. three years later. In 1991, Wilmarth moved to Colorado to attend the Naropa Institute. He worked with Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Anselm Hollo, Joanne Kyger, and Jack Collom and received an M.F.A. in Writing and Poetics in 1994.
I understand that poets are anachronisms in today's society, but that's exactly why I do what I do, said Richard Wilmarth, who published many titles under his Colorado-based Dead Metaphor Press. A partial bibliography includes Trying to make sense of the absurd (2001), Alphabetical Order (1998) Confessions of a Red Sox Fan (1998), The Henry Miller Acrostics (1996), Voices in the Room (1993) Phones: a book of poems (c. 1992), States: a book of poems (1991), Poised for war: a book of poems (Sabotage Press c. 1991), Palestine (c. 1990), Boulder: a book of poems (c.1990), En la Habana vieja (c.1990), and Between games: a book of poems (c. 1987)
The University of Rhode Island Library's Special Collections Department recently acquired a number of items from Dead Metaphor, including 175 small press chapbooks, pamphlets, magazines, and broadsides that contain 300 of Wilmarth's poems, most written in the terse, confrontational style of the Beat poets, his first and most lasting inspiration. His Dead Metaphor Press published fine poetry chapbooks, including these titles: Desire Series by Mark DuCharne (1999), Reside by Patrick Pritchett (1999), This Quirky Unit by Gil Poulin (1998), First Love and Others by Tracy Davis (1997) Trackings: The Body's memory, The Heart's Fiction by Bill Morgan (1996), Journal of the Lingering Fall by Tree Berstein (1994), 8-ball -- words by Jack Collom, monoprints by Donald Guravich (1992), West Is Left On the Map by Anselm Hollo (1992), and Ten degrees cooler inside by Aimée Grunberger (1992).
Richard Wilmarth died in Boulder County from cancer on April 17, 2003.